Fox Hunting Pros And Cons

Friday, March 18, 2022 12:19:12 AM

Fox Hunting Pros And Cons

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The UK's Most Controversial Sport: Fox Hunting

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Licences would be awarded to individuals or groups who would then be committed to respecting minimum levels of animal welfare, such as killing the fox in the shortest time possible and not flushing out animals taking refuge underground. Furthermore, the licensees would still have to get permission to go on a hunt. Pros A compromise between the pro-hunt lobby and its opponents - it allows hunting to continue while ensuring the sport is monitored. Cons May satisfy neither group. Fox hunting would still exist but, on the other hand, in a neutered form. This would make fox hunting illegal.

Anyone found hunting with a dog would be committing an offence and become liable for a fine or custodial sentence. Exceptions would be if the hunter were protecting livestock or intending to eat his prey - and could prove that he intended to shoot the mammal as soon as possible or flush out a bird of prey. Pros Ends fox hunting with dogs but allows pest control. Cons Opponents say a ban would be difficult to police and likely to provoke civil disobedience among former hunters or, if they continued to hunt, criminalise them. Read the memo Full email from David Maclean detailing the Tory campaign. Related articles Interactive Where are the hunts?

You will need Macromedia flash for this guide. What's so bad about fox hunting that it caused hundreds of hours of debate in Parliament and massive public demonstrations during a period in which seemingly more important issues, such as the war in Iraq and a national election, were at stake? On the next page, we'll look at both sides of the argument about fox hunting, an argument that some people believe will determine the kind of country England will be in the future. Costumes are involved, as are customs governing everything from when the food is served to how certain people are greeted. But as with any ritual, those who subscribe to it feel passionately about the importance of its tradition.

With fox hunting in England, some of those elaborately costumed men would argue that while the custom and the spectacle of the hunt brings them joy, it also provides an important public service to country farmers. A fox hunt exterminates foxes, which are seen as vermin and a potential threat to farmers' sheep. On the other hand, of course, are those who say that hunting a fox is cruel and inhumane, particularly when it's done in the style of a fox hunt.

They claim it's unnecessarily cruel that the fox is chased for hours, until it's exhausted, at which point it's caught by the hounds. At that point, the dogs can do what they wish with the animal, and sometimes, by the time the dogs are done, there's absolutely nothing left of the fox [source: Cowell ]. There was even some question of whether fox hunting was an effective way to control fox populations -- a temporary hunting ban had no effect on the fox population [source: Fountain ]. Here is where the back-and-forth begins.

In response to the cruelty argument, those who favor fox hunting contend that the fox dies at the moment the hound grabs it; the death is quick and painless as far as deaths go [source: Hoge ]. It's seen as the greater crime to these people to shoot or maim an animal and not finish the job, to leave a creature limping through the woods with a bullet in the leg. The foxes, of course, are unavailable for comment on this matter. Debate over which animals are socially acceptable to kill and how it's acceptable to kill them is nothing new -- while our ancestors may have gambled away good money at a cockfight, the practice is now illegal in some areas. But questions of ethics regarding fox hunting took on a somewhat larger import in the face of the Hunting Ban.

To some, fox hunting became a symbol of conflict between urban and rural dwellers, between governmental regulations and personal liberty, and even between social classes. To someone opposed to fox hunting, the choice is clear. The sport is unnecessarily barbaric, and as a pastime, it belongs firmly in the past. Polls showed that about 70 percent of British people agreed with a ban on hunting foxes with hounds [source: Cowell ]. In Parliament debate, one speaker likened the fight to big government running roughshod over this 30 percent minority, though in this case, the minority was made up a somewhat unusual group: the upper class.

Fox hunting, to put it bluntly, is seen as the sport of the aristocracy. For this reason, it makes sense that the Parliament Act of had to be used to get the measure through the House of Lords. But what may have been surprising to hunting ban advocates were the many pleas from those of lower classes as well. People from all social classes take place in hunts now, and moreover, jobs associated with fox hunting and the rural economy were threatened by the hunting ban. For this reason, the conflict was also viewed as the city dwellers of Parliament making rules with a poor understanding of the traditions and desires of the countryside.

And not just fox hunters would worry; such a ban seemed to have the potential to affect sports such as shooting and fishing. It's been several years since the Hunting Ban passed, and as of press time, England was still standing. On the next page, we'll see what the ban actually said and what the fallout from the passage was. After years of passionate debate, the House of Commons finally voted in to pass the Hunting Ban; the final count was to [source: Alvaraz ]. The ban made the use of dogs to kill prey illegal. Basically, riders could still follow hounds on horseback as hounds chased the fox, but when the fox is found, all but two dogs must be restrained.

Those two dogs aren't allowed to kill the fox, as before, but may flush it out so that the hunter kills it with a gun. So in the end, what's so bad about fox hunting is not that the fox died, but that the fox was dying at the claws of dogs. But how do you retrain dogs whose natural reward for hours of sniffing, barking and running used to be a fox? For some hunters, it seems, you can't. There have been some "accidents" in the years after the ban; a pro-hunting group known as the Countryside Alliance warned that more foxes were killed post-ban than when hunting was legal [source: BBC ]. Of course, you have to wonder how many accidents truly were so; at the time the ban was passed, hunters were already vowing to continue their fox hunting ways, regardless of what the government said [source: Alvaraz ].

Citizens committed to the ban try to observe fox hunters in the act of an illegal hunt, but they sometimes face abuse from fox hunting supporters [source: Lyall ]. Those opposed to the ban argue that otherwise law-abiding members of society are a persecuted minority, and public support for the hunts remains strong. At Boxing Day hunts in , held just two years after the law went into effect, more than , people showed up to watch and participate in the hunts [source: Associated Press ]. Some fox hunters have turned to drag hunting, which still involves dressing up in the traditional clothing and engaging in all the pre-hunt revelry.

When it comes time to hunt, however, there's no fox to be seen.

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